In a vibrant and illuminating follow-up to her award-winning story collection, Useful Phrases for Immigrants, May-lee Chai’s latest collection Tomorrow in Shanghai explores multicultural complexities through lenses of class, wealth, age, gender, and sexuality—always tracking the nuanced, knotty, and intricate exchanges of interpersonal and institutional power.
These stories transport the reader, variously: to rural China, where a city doctor harvests organs to fund a wedding and a future for his family; on a vacation to France, where a white mother and her biracial daughter cannot escape their fraught relationship; inside the unexpected romance of two Chinese-American women living abroad in China; and finally, to a future Chinese colony on Mars, where an aging working-class woman lands a job as a nanny. Chai’s stories are essential reading for an increasingly globalized world.
May-lee Chai is the author of the American Book Award–winning story collection Useful Phrases for Immigrants and ten other books. Her prize-winning short prose has been published widely, including in the New England Review, Missouri Review, Seventeen, The Rumpus, ZYZZYVA, the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The recipient of an NEA fellowship in prose, Chai is an associate professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University.
Read: The Body, LitHub
Review: Chai bears cleareyed witness, with righteous anger swirling beneath her pellucid prose, Kirkus Reviews
Prompt: Today, go gently with yourself. A walk might be helpful. Allow yourself a break from the news and unfolding events. Turn to a new blank page in your notebook and write freely for 10 minutes.